|(Football) Lebanese refs dodge Eric Ding trial in Singapore
Two Lebanese match officials jailed in Singapore for accepting free sex from an alleged Singaporean match-fixer have refused to return to testify at his trial, a court heard today.
Singaporean nightclub owner Eric Ding Si Yang, 31, (pictured), is accused of “corruptly giving gratification'' to three Lebanese football officials as an inducement to fix football matches that they would officiate in the future.
He faces a maximum prison term of five years and fines of up to S$100,000 for each of the three charges. He has denied the charges.
Assistant referees Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37, were deported in June after serving three-month prison sentences for accepting the services of a prostitute as a bribe from Eric Ding.
Another Lebanese national, referee Ali Sabbagh, testified for the prosecution last month while he served a six-month jail term on the island.
Tan Kian Tat Jeffrey, an investigator from the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau told the court that Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb had communicated to him through the Lebanese Football Association and a Lebanese diplomat in Singapore their unwillingness to return to testify.
“Each of them say they have made clear and detailed statements on their involvement with Ding Si Yang and have nothing to add to the statement which can assist the prosecution in the trial,'' Tan said.
Ding's lawyer Hamidul Haq told the court he would “vehemently'' object to the admission of the written statements as evidence as “we don't have the right to cross-examine them.’’
The trial was abruptly adjourned today to allow Ding's lawyers to prepare for an “ancillary hearing'' on the admissibility of the written statements.
Ding, also separately faces two charges of stealing evidence and obstructing police investigations after he declined to disclose the password to his laptop computer.
The case is a colorful addition to Singapore's long history of match-fixing scandals, including allegations that syndicates in the island organized the rigging of hundreds of games worldwide.—AFP